Homemaker Portrait | Judy Watters

Updated: Feb 19

Judy Watters considers her homemaking unorthodox, yet her home is full of character and comfort. Coming through her door you just know there's a story behind every photo and piece of furniture.

And yes, the stories abound. Not surprising since Judy is a story-teller. She retired from teaching English only to return to the written word through publishing books and teaching others how to preserve their stories for future generations. Judy is a great believer in paying attention to the lessons life has to teach us and recording them for the benefit of others.

Her homemaking journey has had its ups and downs, but Judy has learned to embrace and enjoy the process, allowing her circumstances and experiences to teach her important universal lessons of life.

Want to hear more of Judy's story of home? Click on the link below.

Full Episode Transcript

Allison 0:00

Do you view your homemaking more as a goal to arrive at or as a process to enjoy? In today's episode, we talked to a woman who views the ordinary daily events of life as teachers, leading us along a path to learning the universal lessons of life. And we can either resent and fight or we can enjoy and embrace the process of growth. Hello, homemakers and welcome to The Art of home podcast where we are exploring how homemakers cultivate a place to belong. I'm your host Allison weeks. I'm a wife. I'm a mom to four grown kids and I am in my 30th year of homemaking. Okay, I thought I would give you guys a couple of fun facts each episode to help you get to know me a little bit better. So here's two things I love and one thing I hate. I love gardenias it's my favorite flower. Well, one of my favorites. Probably have the fragrant flowers. It's my favorite. And that's one of the things I love about them is the fragrance and if I could grow them here, I can't grow them here in San Antonio. But if I could, I would and I would always have a bowl of freshly cut gardenia blossoms floating in water on my kitchen counter because they smell amazing. So another thing I love is the smell in the air after a rainstorm. I don't enjoy the rainstorm so much, but I love how the air smells when the rain has come through. Especially if there are gardenias growing in the yard outside. And I hate black licorice. I cannot tolerate the flavor. I don't know what it is, but it's just disgusting to me. So I also really don't like fennel and I have a hard time with anise seed as well. So there you go. There's a few fun facts about me. If you're new to the podcast, welcome. We are so glad you found us. We drop new episodes every other Wednesday and we are all about encouraging you in your practice of the art of home. If you're a regular around here, thank you so much for listening and sharing this podcast with your homemaker friends. That's one of the best ways to help us reach more homemakers with these amazing stories. So we thank you. In today's episode, I'm talking with Judy Watters about her homemaking journey from starry eyed young married optimist to single lady to her second marriage to kids and beyond. We discuss how homemaking is a process and no matter how long you do it, you never really arrive. So why not embrace and enjoy the process and see what life circumstances are meant to teach us. Judy is a retired English teacher. She's a published author and a writing coach who is passionate about helping people write down their story. In order to leave a legacy for generations to come. I had the joy of reading her delightful memoir of her early childhood and their small family farm in Pennsylvania. It's a childhood that Judy describes as a mixture of Little House on the Prairie and Green Acres. Judy's published many other books, including two more memoirs, and the first book in a new mystery series for middle grade children. So that's fun. Throughout our conversation, Judy reminds us that the process has lessons for us if we're just paying attention enough to notice them. And once noticed, Judy would absolutely implore you to write them down. So whether you're folding laundry or washing baby bottles, we know you will enjoy Judy's story of home. I am here today with my friend Judy Watters. And Judy, before we go back to the beginning of your homemaking story, why don't you just tell us a little bit about who you are today.

Judy Watters 3:35

Oh my today number one is my grandbaby Sydney joy. And she is definitely a joy. But I had to wait until I was 70 years old to get that little grant. But my husband and I are truly enjoying every bit of grandparenting today. But I retired from teaching English back in 2013 then helped to start a private school Christian school, got them accredited. And since then in my second retirement. I work with cancer patients and Alzheimer's patients to help them write their story through their journey. And then I lead the legacy writers I lead critique writing group at the library. And I'm a lead evaluator for cognitive accreditation of schools throughout the state of Texas. I think that's about it. I'm a board member for the school, and a very active with the Chamber of Commerce.

Allison 4:37

You are a busy lady.

Judy Watters 4:39

Yes, Iguess I am. But you know, busyness keeps me happy, I think.

Allison 4:45

All right. So let's go back to the beginning. When did you first become a homemaker?

Judy Watters 4:50

Well, that's a little convoluted. My original forever plan when I was in high school was that I would make my forever her husband settled down, have six children have a beautiful home and live happily ever after. Instead, I was married for three years, and divorced after two miscarriages, so after, but after 12 years of being by myself, I met my forever husband, Larry. So we actually I have to say my true homemaker days started in 1984.

Allison 5:31

Okay with Larry.

Judy Watters 5:33

With Larry. Yes, yes.

Allison 5:38

So when you started keeping your own home in whatever form? Did you just have to dive right in with no, with no knowledge of what you were doing? Or did you have any kind of skills under your belt?

Judy Watters 5:51

No, my mom was a great homemaker. We lived on a farm in Pennsylvania. And she did everything from, you know, mowing the hay to taking care of the garden to sewing our clothes when we were young, and, you know, canning and all that good stuff that a farmer's wife does. She pies and cakes and everything else. So I learned from her. Right. My father was a chef by profession. I did not learn from him because he made the more fancy things. And he always cooked for a huge group, you know, so my mom didn't like him cooking in her kitchen. But anyway. And then my sister, she truly followed in my system, my mom's footsteps. My sister has a neat house. It's spotless, you know, and she's a wonderful cook. And, I mean, she gives parties and things like that that you know, mom used to do. And then she does everything. Well, just like mom did. I'm very much the opposite.

Allison 7:00

So would you say that your skills that you gained in the area of keeping a home were like from the school of hard knocks?

Judy Watters 7:07

Probably Probably yes. I think, you know, cleaning and cooking, and I do like to bake. But that was none of that was my forte. I wanted to be actually as a child, I wanted to be out in the field with my father. Yeah. When my sister was excited Saturday morning to get up and clean the bathrooms and vacuum and everything. I made it out into the hay field with my father as quick as I could. And stayed out there most of the day. That's great.

Allison 7:36

Yeah, it's really cool. So what was the steepest learning curve for you? As far as the home keeping the home? What was the hardest thing for you to learn how to do? Well,

Judy Watters 7:46

um, I think probably the meals. I think I've always been very unsure of that. And so every day my husband would leave for work, I'd say, What do you want for dinner tonight? Because it wasn't creative enough to think of dinner spice. And whatever he said, you know, that, you know, and now it's gotten to where he said, What do you want? I'd still say, I always What do you want for dinner tonight? I'll say, I don't care. And that doesn't help much. You know, this ends up being maybe cereal or bologna sandwich or something like that. I ended up with a few staples, you know, I did chili and sloppy joes and meatloaf. And I did chicken tortilla soup and spaghetti and lasagna. I did have some that I really did. Well, God didn't stray from those and Larry didn't like he doesn't like fish or chicken. Okay, so me, you know, meat, was it.

Allison 8:48

And you live in the right place for beef? Yes, that's true. That's true. That's good. But that's really good advice. Because sometimes, you know, we just need to know our limits and where we, where we thrive and where we don't necessarily thrive and you're feeding your family, but you're not taxing yourself. That's

Judy Watters 9:05

right, that we're not skinny many. So we were good. We were good. That's great.

Allison 9:10

Well, let's talk a little bit about balance. Did you ever work outside the home?

Judy Watters 9:15

I did. I did. In fact, I worked for a homebuilder. Actually as an office manager until my second child was born, okay. I went to work. I was supposed to be back in two weeks. I was back to work after Aaron was born one week after he was born. And then after she was born, he said, Well, I want you back a week later, and I said, I'm gonna make it too. So he said, Okay, very nice boss. Very nice. But the building industry goes on, you know, right. You know, so I went back the first day and I said, Ed, I can't do this. I'm done. Oh, so I went home and told my husband Guess what, we're down to one income now. Actually cut our income in half. So I went out and bought some cloth diapers, this was 1988 and figured I was going to really, you know, make my pennies count. Use those for about a month. And then that ended. I went back to the other divers. But I told my husband, I was not going to go back until the children were out of school. Well, that didn't quite happen either. When our youngest, I did homeschool a few years, and then when our youngest was in kindergarten, I went back and I went into sales for a few years before I went back to teaching.

Allison 10:42

Wow, I'm sure that was that was probably such a huge shock to have your income cut in half like that. And were there other things besides the cloth diapers that you learned how to do? Because I'm recollecting and we're going to talk about this some more later. But I'm, I've just listened to your memoir that covers your early years and growing up on the farm and your parents were like, pros at stretching and skinny. Yeah. So I'm wondering how much that rubbed off on you.

Judy Watters 11:09

You know what, you're right, because we did a lot of garage saleing. All of a lot of their clothes came from garage sales. And the kids had fun. Yeah, they had fun. And I took up selling Avon. Okay, so I would take the little red wagon, down one street and up the other. Aaron was five, when we started that Kyle was just the baby. So I wrapped them in a blanket in the little red wagon. Emily was three. And Emily went with me on one side of the street. Well, Aaron went on the other and I gave him a stack of Avon books and a tablet. And I said you just ask tell them mommy selling Avon would you put your name and your phone number here and give them a book. And everyone took a book from him. He was so cute horse. And then when it came Emily on my side of the street, I sent her to the door while I was stayed on the sidewalk with Kyle in the wagon. And you could not understand her Oh, she'd go up and say I'm on my mama my my mommy mom, bla bla bla bla bla, and hand the tablet to them. And they just laugh and they'd sign their name and the phone number and I gave each of them 25 cents for every new customer. Then we could go to a garage sale and they could buy the toys they

Allison 12:28

want. I love that story. That's, that's creative. You're teaching your kids these skills. That's really good.

Judy Watters 12:37

And you know, my daughter is a surgeon today. And she still she just texted me the other day and she says, I think I have to buy a toaster. She says I don't want to spend the money on a toaster. I'm thinking you're a surgeon you can afford that. Oh

Allison 12:52

my goodness. So they've they've they're thrifty. Yes. Okay. Yes. And that's not a bad thing.

Judy Watters 12:59

It's not.

Allison 12:59

It's a very good skill to have. Yes, yeah, that's really great. Well, I love that story. Thank you so much for sharing that. Now one of the things we have to balance as homemakers particularly if you're working outside the home, or you're running a side gig, like an Avon business or something like that is just getting everything done and scheduling and and how did you manage that?

Judy Watters 13:22

Sometimes I didn't, but I was an older mom. I was 36 when I had Aaron 38 When I had Emily and 41 When I have cut and so I manage and but I had managed a sales organization prior to that of have like 400 people, okay. And it was not, not anywhere near as difficult as handling three little ones under the age of five. It was and sometimes I felt like I was I always likened it to being a circus ringmaster. Yeah, and had all three rings go on at the same time. And they were all out of control, fall off control. And that's where I stayed was the, you know, not in control. And I remember I tried to there in the 80s it was a big time of homeschooling. And everyone around me was homeschooling. And they were going to this field trip and on that field trip going here and there and unset How do you do that? I have to get my I have to get dinner made. I have to you know, get the kids they have to learn to read and write sometime. Right? We can't be going to the Alamo every other day. And it was very hard. But I love being with the kids. I think it was just playing games with the kids, whether it's counting or ABCs or whatever. But it was a fun time because I just liked being a kid again, I guess. Yeah.

Allison 14:55

That's great. So what about your spiritual Life as a mom as a working mom, or just a mom with the three ring circus going on, and you know, we know we need to get filled up so that we can do what we need to do. But it's hard to prioritize it and keep all the other priorities in their right place. Right? How did how did you manage that?

Judy Watters 15:16

Well, at the time of bringing the kids when they were really young, I, we went to a church in Northwest San Antonio that was just full of little children and young moms. I was one of the older moms, but my kids were the same age as theirs. And I taught a women's Bible study pretty much wrote, you know, wrote out what I wanted to say, you know, and I think that just getting me it got me up at five in the morning before the kids were up so that I could have some quiet time. Yeah. And could get my gathered my thoughts. It didn't always work, because Emily was usually up with me, right. So but I think that helped and having the Bible studies at the church, whether I taught them or not, there were other women who taught Bible studies that really helped. I think just the other women, the camaraderie, yeah, that we had. And the prayer for each other, were helped a lot

Allison 16:20

to have helped a lot. Definitely. Now we go into our homemaking with sort of ideals and ways that we think it might look and expectations and sometimes real life matches that and and sometimes it doesn't. So what about you did your life as a as a homemaker and a mom and a wife? And did that match what you thought it was going to look like?

Judy Watters 16:41

Well, I think my view my husband, my high school, high school days of homemaking, you know, was included singing birds and my true love and me along with our six children skipping down the flowered lane. You know, in reality, homemaking had its has its ups and downs. There really does. I remember at one Co Op, mommy group, I was at the home of this mom who had six children, she actually had six children. I was envying her, because I knew I wouldn't have six children. But I asked her, Sarah, how do you do it? How do you keep your house clean? Your kids are looking clean? They look highly, highly intelligent. You know, you're you have a happy husband. How do you do it all? She was homeschooling all six kids? Yeah. And she said, Oh, my goodness, my one rule of thought is you never ever, ever mop your kitchen floor until you start sticking to it. And I loved that, because I didn't like to clean anyway. So I really held to that one. I like that a lot. Yes. And so that really worked. I'll never forget that piece of advice. But yeah, in reality, you know, there's just so many ups and downs there. You know, kids have temper tantrums, you know, husbands aren't always as happy as you'd like them to be, or you say something wrong, or they come home tired, and you're tired. And so yeah, all making has ups and downs. But in the long run, I think I, I am a strong believer in what my mom always taught me and that we have to enjoy the process. And it may not always look neat and clean, then. But we have to enjoy that process. And we're never going to be perfect. It's a process. Yeah. So I think I had to remind myself of that many times, many times. That's good.

Allison 18:46

Good word of advice there. So are there any particular special challenges that you had to face as a homemaker? And if so, how did you? How did you meet those challenges or deal with them?

Judy Watters 18:58

Well, I think this comes back to this was my second marriage, my husband second marriage, okay. And we were determined to make it work. But by the time I came into my second marriage, I'd been single for 12 years, I had sold two houses, investment properties, I'd won cars and lots of other stuff in sales world. But I really longed for that husband to take charge of the bills, the taxes, the investments, whatever I wanted him to do at all. And yet I wasn't ready to give it all up. Oh, so he had been single for a while I had been single for a while and so the the knocking heads and trying to figure out and because I was older we had children right away. So it didn't give us time. Yeah, to really get to know each other and to fall that deeply in love with each other to where we trusted each other with finances. Yeah. smells and things like that. Yeah. But over the years, I realized, you know, it took me a while. But I had to finally let go and let God and whatever Larry decided to do, I felt that's what we needed to do. Yeah. So but it took my growing to realize that

Allison 20:21

you feel like you came to a place of, of peace in that area with him. Always took some time. Yeah,

Judy Watters 20:28

it took some time. Yeah. But I think that was the biggest, the biggest challenge. We both love the kids. And you know that. I can't say that was a challenge. I mean, later teen years, maybe. But the little ones? No.

Allison 20:44

Okay. Well, let's talk for a little bit about hospitality. Now, hospitality is just kind of comes with the job, you have a home and you're going to have people in your home people live here. And we show hospitality to one another within the home, and then we show it to other people that come visit us. So how about showing hospitality to one another to your husband, your children? How did you guys do that as a family?

Judy Watters 21:11

Well, we all of our meals were eaten together to start with, we always ate together. But I think other traditions, we were a family that did a lot with other families. We had one family who we did pizza with after church every Sunday, we had another family where we did the fff 's, the forced family fun on Friday nights. Okay, what is that? This other family what it was either at their house or ours, we'd chat and we, you know, whatever. It went back and forth. But they would invite a family, we would invite a family and we would it was Friday night, we do a games like squash or games that the whole family could play that all all the family members could play. And the kids had to have fun. It was forced family fun. And I was on Friday night. And the kids really looked forward to it. Okay. And sometimes it was just the two families and that worked a lot better really, because they had three children, we had three children. And I do remember one time when we were playing, that was squash where you made your little bugs out of Play Doh, and then you got to squash each other's bug. And Emily made the another David cry. Oh, no. Which and his daddy was not happy with the family. Cuz she's kept squashing his his bugs. But you know, we had to remind them that it was fun.

Allison 22:44

You are going to have fun, you're going to have a scorched. It's forced family fun.

Judy Watters 22:50

That's right.

Allison 22:51

That's hilarious. What about hospitality to your kids friends or anything like that.

Judy Watters 22:57

We had a corner lot. And San Antonio, the biggest lot in the neighborhood. And we had a huge fork. And so our house seemed to be the gathering place for all the neighborhood kids. And we were in a cul de sac. And so everybody came with their bikes, they'd like to go up in the big fort. And I was the one baking the cookies and making the those little ice pops or whatever they were to hand out to all the kids. And it seems that when we moved out to the country that we moved out to the hill country when Aaron was I think he was 12 or 13. And it continued. We still had kids come and I remember building this house and I told my husband, I wanted a huge deck on the back so that kids could come. Well, we couldn't afford it at the time. So it never got built on but we still had kids come and even to the point Aaron went to his Hill Bible School in comfort. And he would bring international students every weekend to spend the weekend and have some home cooked meals. And I remember one weekend we had 10 Kids, kids, you know 20 something. Yeah, yeah, laying on floors, sleeping in sleeping bags, or under my quilts, you know, on the dining room floor, you know, whatever. They were all over the place, you know, but they had fun. And so I love that. I love that he he liked bringing his friends home even at that age.

Allison 24:32

Yeah, and he felt comfortable to do that. Yeah. Yeah, really.

Judy Watters 24:36

And all three of them did that right up to the time they left home. Yeah.

Allison 24:40

Well, that that says that you set a tone with your children, you know where they felt comfortable here and so then they felt they could bring their friends here. Good achievement.

Judy Watters 24:50

Well, even when my daughter went to medical school, she's in San Antonio. And I have pictures of her, her friends around this table studying for medical, you know, you know, yeah, they are studying to be doctors in there. Yeah, Emily brought them home. So that was fun.

Allison 25:10

That's a good legacy. Yeah. Well, let's talk a little bit about the seasons of homemaking. How do you feel like your role as a homemaker, as a keeper of the home has changed over time?

Judy Watters 25:21

What when the kids started leaving home, there seemed to be a little more time to do other things. I've always been a busy person. That probably comes from my mom who got it from her father. The Idle hands are the devil's playground. So I was teaching high school English as my kids started leaving home. Yeah. And I got into writing. And I started writing books and didn't know where that was going. But ended up you know, to where I ended up with three. Three memoirs, middle school, mystery book now and quite a few low content books or puzzle books, coloring books, things like that. It's just got to be a real hobby. But it's a fun, profitable hobby.

Allison 26:17

Yeah. Yes. So I finished your memoir just about a week and a half ago. And I loved it.

Judy Watters 26:24

Oh, thank you.

Allison 26:25

I'm gonna recommend everybody go get it. It's called the road home. Hmm. And it covers from, your very early years... So up to about you said 10 years old,

Judy Watters 26:35

probably about 10 years old. Yeah, it's kind of I always thought my childhood was a cross between Green Acres and Little House on the Prairie. You know,

Allison 26:44

I would agree with that.

Judy Watters 26:45

Yeah, my father knew nothing about farming coming from New York City, you know,

Allison 26:51

And his story. I mean, I love that you went back even and told your father's story from his early beginnings and living in the Jewish orphanage. And yes, I mean, that that story in itself was just so amazing. Yeah. And yeah, and of all things, how he went from there and ended up in this Pennsylvania, tiny little farm. It's just really cool. Yeah, it was a really cool.

Judy Watters 27:15

It was a fun childhood. Yeah, it really was. Yeah. But he, I think through watching him, not knowing it at the time. But I think I I grew up with that can do it spirit. You know, anything you put your mind to, you can do it. So some of it, you may not do perfectly well. But you can do it. Whatever you set your mind to.

Allison 27:37

Yeah. So you've written three memoirs now? I mean, and you said, you just kind of started writing. So you didn't have a desire to write like, when you were younger?

Judy Watters 27:48

Well, I've always written? I think I've always written from childhood days, you know,

Allison 27:52

Kept diaries?

Judy Watters 27:54

I did, I did early. I don't have any of my own. I have lots of my mom's and my great grandfather. I don't have any of my own. But I started telling stories from the farm when I was putting the kids to bed at night. Oh, and they would say, tell me a story. Mom, tell me a story about when you were a little girl on the farm. And I started telling these stories, and they seem to enjoy them. Or tell me that story again, mommy about and they would, you know, remember the story. And when I taught women's Bible studies, I'd tell a story here and a story there. And I had women who would say you need to write a book, you really need to put this down in a book. So that's when that started melding and gelling in my head.

Allison 28:47

Yeah. I love that the stories grew out of bedtime stories that you told your children. Yeah, that is really amazing. So what if so there's somebody listening, and they think, Oh, I wish I could do that with my kids. But maybe they didn't grow up, you know, Little House on the Prairie style slash green acres. So, do you have any tips, you know, for sort of, because I know that's part of your business is helping people to write and even to write memoirs themselves? So what would be your tip to maybe the young mom or homemaker who's listening?

Judy Watters 29:20

Well, I did have a lady come to me after she'd read my book. And she said, You know, I related to every story that you told us, she says, I grew up in New York City in a high rise apartment. But I could relate to it because the way I wrote it was, according to less lessons, universal lessons we all learn. So to an aspiring author out there. If they can pick up on any lesson they've learned in life. And think back. How did they learn that lesson? How did they learn the lesson that your name is something to protect? How did they learn that honesty is the best way to go or to, to cherish and, and, and enjoy your heritage? How how did they learn that lesson? And everyone has a story. Yeah, behind every universal lesson that they've learned.

Allison 30:17

That's so great. And that's something that we all want to pass on to our children.

Judy Watters 30:21

Definitely that's all part of leaving your legacy. And you know, on my YouTube channel, I encourage people, you have a story to tell. So get it written down for your children, your grandchildren, your great grandchildren to come.

Allison 30:37

That's so great. And we're going to have links to all of Judy's all the places you can find her out on the interwebs and YouTube channel and where you can get copies of her books and your website. We're going to link all of that in the show notes and on your blog post for this episode.

We will get back to duty story in just a few minutes. Right now it's time for historical homemaker hints. This is the part of the podcast where we highlight some of the helpful and not so helpful hints doled out to homemakers throughout history. Today's hints come from practical suggestions for mother and housewife by Marion Mills Miller, published in 1910. Four chapters of this book are dedicated to the various aspects of setting up a home from choosing where to live, what kind of dwelling to choose the layout of the rooms to the furnishings of those rooms. Miss Miller has advice for all of it, she gives some practical suggestions regarding the bathroom. In view of the importance of sanitation, more thought than is ordinarily allotted to it should be given the lavatory. When there is room to spare, it is best to have the bath separate from the toilet in order to prevent inconvenience in use. [Amen to that!] The walls of the laboratory should be tiled, or if this is too expensive, they should be covered with waterproof paper. All toilet arrangements should be systematically kept clean, and the necessary supplies at all times provided. I completely agree, Marion. I keep the supplies that I need to clean my bathroom wait for it... in my bathroom, I am so much more likely to do a quick cleanup if I have everything right there when I need it. So that means I have to regularly check and make sure that I'm stocked up instead of waiting until I have a huge mess right in front of me that needs immediate attention only to realize that I am out of cleaning solution or there's no cleaning cloths in there or whatever. If you're blessed to have a designated guest room, Marion and offers these words of wisdom, money spent on the guest room beyond that necessary to make it simply the best bedroom in the house brings smaller returns in usage than anywhere else. The average guest is more pleased with a room such as he sleeps in himself at home than with one where elegance seems to find for the use. In other words when it comes to cultivating a space for guests whether it be a dedicated room or just a temporary space with a pullout couch. Aim for comfort above all else, by all means make it pretty, but not so fine that the guest is afraid to use it less he spoil it. And finally, regarding the dining room decor Miss Miller suggests the following,: china and glassware and silver arranged in proper array in wall closets, cabinets and sideboards are the most appropriate decorations of the dining room. It is not at all necessary that there should be pictures on the wall of game, fruit and flowers, or still life studies of vegetables and kitchen utensils. Indeed, these have become so expected that a change is quite a relief to a guest, who would welcome even the Death's Head that was the invariable ornament of the Egyptian feasts. Any pictures which are lively and cheerful in suggestion are suitable. Those that have a story to tell or a lesson to point to are never out of place in a room frequented by children. While, Marion phrased it slightly differently, this idea of something being "like a Death's Head at a feast" was a phrase meant to denote a person or an event that brings gloom or sadness to an occasion of joy or celebration. I don't know, I quite like a moody still life of copper pots and vegetables. I wonder if Marion would have approved of a playful scene of Dogs Playing Poker, or perhaps a velvet Elvis? Well, that's it for today's historical homemaker hints. As always, please remember, this segment is for entertainment purposes only. And I leave it to you, the listener, to determine the safety and soundness of this advice. Now back to Judy's story.

So you've written these memoirs you've written lots of neat little puzzle books and coloring books and some really fun things like that. You've written a book about aging well, right. And that's from the perspective of your mother.

Judy Watters 34:58

Yeah, that was a fun one. Because Mom was... I capitalized on the idea that ordinary people can do extraordinary things in life. And mom was a farmer's daughter became a farmer's wife. Very, very ordinary person. But she touched hundreds of people with her very simple way of living her simple, just she was very sweet, very sweet. And so every step of the aging process, she did well, she saw in a positive light, she sold her farm after daddy died, even though you know, Daddy was the love of her life. And when he passed away, she was 60 years old. But she, I mean, she said one thing that, you know, Daddy never lied to her. Until he said he would live with her forever and ever. And that just, you know, and from then on, she had to kind of straighten up and take on this 100 acre farm that she was left with. And she didn't do that very well. She was just beside herself, because mom and daddy had worked together, right, all their married life, that was a together thing. So when he passed on, though, she sold the farm and moved to San Antonio, but she saw as a whole new life opening up to her a whole new world. And she'd sit in my sister's house at night, in the upstairs bedroom where they had made it into her sewing room. And she'd look at all the traffic by the medical center where they lived. And she'd say, Isn't that beautiful? I remember going up one night, and I said, What are you looking at mom? She has all those lights. And you heard the sirens going into the ambulance? And I said, Yeah, you know, the word by a hospital? And she says it's just beautiful. Oh. And I said, Don't you miss the farm? I said, No, I don't. She said, I I enjoyed that life. But this is a new life. Why she says it's beautiful out there. So she would sit and make stories up of where people were going. Wonder where they're going in that car. I wonder how that person in that ambulance got hurt, you know, and she'd sent a little prayer up for you know, but you know, the time when she had to give up her car keys, she saw it in a positive light, it was much better for everyone else cuz she was gonna run in. So it's a great it's done in the form of comical little stories about her. And then a space for people to write their own idea of how they did it your their rendition of how they went through it. Okay,

Allison 37:51

So who would you say this that this is for really, the audience?

Unknown Speaker 37:54

This is boing to be for senior citizens or for people like yourself who want to buy it for your parents. Because it actually is... we all you know, we're not getting out of this life standing...so there's even a place to plan your own funeral.

Allison 38:08

Oh, that's fantastic.

Judy Watters 38:09

So there's a place to write your own obituary, to write what songs you want song or played, the pastor you want there or whatever, write everything down. And then I instruct them to put it in with their will or let their loved ones know where that book is. Because it would be a gift for their loved ones because we went through it with my dad when he passed away and it was not, not, not fun. It was not not good.

Allison 38:39

Well, that's a fantastic resource and and your mother sounds like a really just a really neat lady.

Judy Watters 38:45

She was. She passed away last May at the age of 99. And was just blessed with having her for so many years.

Allison 38:51

Yeah, yeah. Fantastic. And then this latest thing that you've published, why don't you tell us a little bit about this book.

Judy Watters 38:57

The Mystery in the Jackson House is based on a true story. There was an old haunted house what we thought was haunted house back in our neighborhood back in Pennsylvania. And my brother actually stayed overnight in the attic one time and found some comic books up there. So that's where this came from.

Allison 39:20

I love it. Okay. And so it's called again, let me make sure we got the title; Mystery in the Jackson House. And this is you said for middle grade

Judy Watters 39:28

For middle grades well and probably goes up to high school.

Allison 39:31

Okay. And this is number one in what's going to be a series a series?

Judy Watters 39:36

A series; of the Triple Dog Dare. Triple Dog Dare Series.

Allison 39:40

I love that.

Judy Watters 39:41

Have you ever heard of a triple dog dare?

Allison 39:42

Yes, I have! That's really awesome. We're huge Christmas Story fans. We watch that movie every year. You know, the triple dog there and there's a whole you know, you have to do the double dog dare then the triple dog dare....Love it. Well, thank you for sharing about that and all the links will be in the show notes. So what does your homemaking look like in this season that you're in right now? How are how are you still growing and challenging yourself to learn new things?

Judy Watters 40:09

Well, I don't know about growing and challenging myself, but the major change is probably in my cooking. You know, I love you know so much. But I only cook two or three times a week now. And we live on leftovers. And we go out a lot with friends. Larry and I clean house together because we're both retired. And we travel a lot with France and with the family. And our greatest joy, of course, is having Sydney joy here, a little grandbaby. Every Monday, we get to have her here. And we just spend the whole day loving on her and watching her little sweet antics,

Allison 40:44

and teaching her how to bake. And yeah, and she's how old?

Judy Watters 40:48

She is 15 months. And so she has a whole series of books coming up. I did one in the first the adventures of Sydney joy and baking day with grandma Juju. And then she has a few more books coming.

Allison 41:01

Are you going to, are those published?

Judy Watters 41:02

The first one is published.

Allison 41:05

Very cool. I love how you turn all of these things into books. It's just fantastic. So how are you intentionally passing on the things you've learned in your journey? To the the people who are coming behind you?

Judy Watters 41:19

I don't know if I'm doing anything intentionally. But I do hope that younger women who have maybe watched my I don't know, have watched me and my style of parenting or whatever. will pick up the importance of laughing and enjoying their kids. Yeah. And and just the enjoying the process of it all. Yeah. And that nothing, nothing. Nothing is going to be perfect. So you do it the best you can. Yeah. And then you smile at the rest. And you let it go. So it's just the process. That's what I love about homemaking about being a mom a wife is that we learn every step of the way.

Allison 42:04

Yeah. You've never really arrived.

Judy Watters 42:05

No, you never do.

Allison 42:07

You're always learning

Judy Watters 42:08

Not the sight of heaven. That's for sure.

Allison 42:10

Yeah. That's good. That's a good word. Let's go into our rapid fire. Quick answer time on homemaking tasks. All right. So how about a homemaking task that you love?

Judy Watters 42:24

Well, for me it's fun with the kids playing with the kids reading to the kids just being with the kids.

Allison 42:31

About one that you hate.

Judy Watters 42:33

Other than cooking... is cleaning. I have to be honest, I'm throwing it out there. I'm honest.

Allison 42:41

That's good. That's good. What about up homemaking fail?

Judy Watters 42:45

Oh the time I tried to grate cheese for the first time I think in the cuisinart, may have been some other thing, and the top popped off and it just went all... I had cheese all over the kitchen. That's probably one of one of my many.

Allison 43:01

One of your many. Alright, how about a memorable homemaking achievement?

Judy Watters 43:08

I think my kids my kids are my biggest accomplishment. Well, not I can't take full credit. My husband too because the brains come from him not from me. But my our older son owns lead hub owns a it's a computer business in San Antonio. And then our daughter is a surgeon in Maryland. And then our baby boy is a very successful bartender. We run the gamut. But they're all three happily gainfully employ and not coming home to mommy and daddy for money or anything else. So, you know, they're just happy, happy, happy.

Allison 43:54

Well done. Yes. Well Done.

Judy Watters 43:57

Yep. My memorable homemaking achievement. Yes. And that they're close to each other. Yeah, they call each other all the time. We do vacations. We probably do at least two a year where we get an Airbnb. This last one we went to Port Aransas we've been to Arizona a couple times you know while Emily was going through a residency but just getting together having fun putting jigsaw puzzles together and laughing with an at each other Yeah, that's a good and I love that they still love to be with each other to be with

Allison 44:34

What do you think it was in your in their growing up years that kind of cemented that what can you think of anything in particular?

Judy Watters 44:43

I don't really know. I think we just as a family we we did a lot together. Yeah. And it wasn't like I said you couldn't they went off with other friends at times. A very. They were very free to go off with friends but I think we traveled a lot Together, we made sure family was very much a part of their upbringing, whether it was in Kansas with his family or here, you know, with mine. They never my one. My one thing I regret is that my kids never knew they never knew the farm. Never saw the farm. And so, to me, that was the best childhood. I wish I could have given my kids that same childhood. But yeah, I think just us being together. I don't know.

Allison 45:37

And probably the forced family fun too..

Unknown Speaker 45:39

That probably did a lot. Because they laugh about that. Now they look back on that and think oh my goodness, it was fun. It was really fun.

Allison 45:47

I love that. Okay, so do you have some homemaking tips to share with us?

Judy Watters 45:54

Um, I guess that one that Sarah gave me about not mopping till you stick to the floor. That's probably the best advice that I could pass on. Yeah. And again, I have to go back to it. Don't take anything too seriously. Yeah, nothing too seriously. Life itself has gotten very serious, you know, in our politics today and how we treat each other sometimes. And I think we have to this whole idea of, and I don't want to get political here. But the whole idea of being offended. You know, it's a choice to be offended. So I think just the whole idea of loving each other, and being there for each other being a support, whether in your home or with friends outside. Yeah. You know, being a support for them.

Allison 46:46

Good word. We're going to end our time today reflecting on the art of home. How do you see homemaking as an art?

Judy Watters 46:56

Well, making art takes practice lots and lots of practice. As a beginning artist, you don't. Or maybe he did. I don't know if Picasso started out and sold his first painting. And he may have but I would think it takes lots and lots of hours of practice. To be a pianist it takes a lot of hours to practice. Homemaking is the same way. Yeah, so it is an art. You practice to schedule your things you practice to make sure what comes out of your mouth to your children is wholesome and up. Lifting. Yeah, I remember one of my dear friends, she went to China as a missionary she and her family. The one the family we did the forced Family Fun with they became missionaries to China. And she told me that she never had to say no to her children. She tried not to say no to her children, because when they asked her if they could do something, she had to rationalize in her brain very quickly. Is there anything dangerous about it? If I say, Yes, you know, why would I have to say no. So no to her was something you don't say to kids, unless it was definitely something was going to endanger their lives? You know. And I like that bit of advice, too. I think that whole idea of watching what comes through your mouth? Yeah. That's an art in itself and learning how to do that.

Allison 48:32


Judy Watters 48:34

In fact, I will have to say here that as I mature, I guess in my parenting skills, if I want to say that I don't know if I've never arrived. But as my daughter got older, she would ask me, Well, what do you think about this? And I would tell her what to do. And she would come back at me and say, Mom, I didn't tell ask you what I should do. I asked you what you thought. So I thought about that for a long time. And so now when she or the boys ask for advice. I take it I say, Wow, that's a tough one. I don't know. I guess if it were me, I might do it this way. But you are a different animal. So you might you'll come up with the right decision. Wow. So that's the way I've decided to kind of approach my grown children now.

Allison 49:28

That's good. And you had to learn how to do that.

Judy Watters 49:31

Yes, yes, I did.

Allison 49:34

That's great. A lot of what we do as homemakers is mundane and monotonous. But there can be beauty in the ordinary things. So how do you think as a homemaker we can find beauty in the mundane?

Judy Watters 49:52

I remember a story my mom told me one time that she hated, hated, hated making school lunches for us kids. Of course, back then you carried a bag, you know, and in a paper bag, but she just and she said one day she was at the kitchen window. That was 530 in the morning, she was getting the bread out, ready to slice it up. And she just stopped and looked out the window and said, Lord, help me to like making these lunches, I just hate...she says I don't want to make one more lunch. And she said, all of a sudden, it was like, a peace came over her. And she went to the refrigerator, and she looked for all creative things to put in the lunches. And from that moment on, it was it was like a light bulb that went off in her head, and she said she loved to make lunches after that. There were a challenge to her when she went grocery shopping or whatever, it was always looking for something special to put in the lunch. Yeah. Um, so I guess I would say prayer helps.

Allison 51:03

Her prayer changed her perspective.

Judy Watters 51:05

Yes, prayer helps in the mundane.

Allison 51:09

That's a great story. Thanks for sharing that. How do you think that homemaking adds value to society? We know it's valuable to our individual homes. But what about to communities and society at large?

Judy Watters 51:24

Well, as you can see, my homemaking is different than a lot of other people, but, and my sister and I drive each other crazy with our different home making and parenting styles. But you know, her home is immaculate, and she has these big dinner parties where she used to and beautiful where the settings were perfect and everything and me I throw a loaf of bread on the table. And here's some jelly and there's some mayonnaise or whatever. But a cousin of ours one time when she came to visit from Pennsylvania, and she made the comment, going to your sister's house is like going to a five star hotel. And coming to yours is like a house being lived in. I wasn't sure how to take that. And I told her, Hey, not sure how I'm going to take that. And she said, Well, it's like my house it's totally lived in. So it made me feel better. But I think the value of homemaking to society is that when we bring kids up, regardless whether it's in a five star hotel, or in a house that's been lived in, those kids go out into the world. And they remember those lessons that you've taught them. They remember, you know, the good times, more than likely, they remember the good times. It's like when I wrote my first book, and someone said, Your stories are also happy. You know, was there anything bad that happened? And I think I had to think about that. And I thought, I think I choose to remember the good things. Yeah, I don't choose the bad things to dwell on. And I think when we go out into society, if we can take the good that our parents have taught us, then society will be better for it. I remember Shirley Dobbs, I think it was Shirley Dobson, who wrote the book, they the things my parents did, right. She interviewed so several, eight, eight or 10 Different women who came from abusive parents, either they were alcoholics or drug addicts. And these women were, you know, they became, you know, like, Christian, strong Christian women. Yeah. And they had to dwell on what their parents did, right. So I think if we do that, we send these kiddos out into society. We know we've done the best that we can, and society will benefit from that. Yeah, that's a good word.

Allison 54:00

What would you say to a young homemaker out there who's listening? What word of encouragement or word of advice would you have for her?

Judy Watters 54:09

Say, take your time. Enjoy the price process. And take joy in the little things. take joy in having your little ones hand in your hand. take joy in that poopy diaper. I take joy in being able to just love on your children where they are. Not where you want them to be, but where they are right now. Because life is tough. Life is tough and bringing kids up in this day and age. I can't imagine doing it now. But be close. Be close to your children and just encourage, I want to encourage the moms that are listening, that they teach their children the life lessons well. However they teach them in so many different forms. And that's it.

Allison 55:15

Well, thank you so much for sharing your story with us. It's really been a joy to hear it.

Judy Watters 55:19

Thank you, Allison, it was fun.

Allison 55:22

I love Judy's perspective on change and circumstances, that these things are all a part of life and we can choose to embrace and enjoy the process of learning and growing through it all. One thing's clear in Judy's memoir, The Road Home, is how much she respected her parents and learned from their example of working hard and loving well and really just living life to the fullest. When we touched on the book about aging, the one that was inspired by her mom, Judy said, she firmly believed that ordinary people can do extraordinary things, just like her mother did, simply by allowing prayer to change her perspective about those school lunches, to take what could be seen as a burden, like making the dreaded lunches day after day after day, or selling and leaving the farm after her husband died, or giving up her car keys and her independence. And looking at them instead as an opportunity, an adventure, a chance to grow into the person that you were created to be. It's all about perspective, really.

So our homework this week is to think about our daily tasks in light of what we can learn through them, and how we are being challenged to stretch and grow in them. What kind of life lessons can we learn as we practice the art of home, the importance of patience, the rule of kindness, the value of time, we could probably make a really long list. Maybe you've been inspired by Judy to write down some of your life lessons stories and tell them to your children or your grandchildren. Whether it's a lesson you learned decades, hours, or days ago, it doesn't really matter. It's worth telling. If this episode was helpful to you, would you pass it on to a homemaker that you know who could use some encouragement, just direct them to our website, they can listen right there on the website, or they can listen on any of the major podcast directories, whichever they prefer. It really helps us to grow our audience and get the stories out there to more homemakers all over the world. So thank you. You can connect with us on all the social platforms. Links are down below in the show notes, or you can send us an email contact@theartofhomepodcast.com. Resources mentioned in this episode, including where to find Judy online and purchase her books are all listed in the show notes below and on our website. And don't forget, like always, you can take a little photo tour of Judy's home over on the website. Just click on the link to season three episode five, a homemaker portrait of Judy Watters. Until next time, keep practicing your art of making a home.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai